Colorado Artist Creates Sculptures and Prints From U.S. Geological Surveys
Using data from U.S. Geological Surveys, artist Christopher Warren transforms topographical maps into psychedelic works of art—or “beautiful, trippy, brain food,” as he puts it. The Colorado-based artist started with two-dimensional prints before trying his hand at creating sculptures with a laser cutter. While both are equally dazzling, you have to see the 3-D pieces assembled in the time-lapse video below to truly understand their intricacies.
The maps Warren produces depict everything from Cottonwood Basin in California to Jacks Canyon in Arizona. But as a Coloradan, the artist tries to focus in on as many of the mountain ranges like Mesa Verde that his home state has to offer. That said, the artist does have an impressive collection of national parks prints, depicting destinations such as Mount McKinley and Whitewater Bay in Florida.
Warren found his inspiration for the project from a series of old topographical maps he obtained from the University of Colorado’s library. He was surprised by how cool the maps looked after coloring in some of the lines. “It was slow work—about a week per map—but the results were almost better than I was expecting,” Warren told RealClearLife.
Warren sculptures, on the other hand, are more intricate and labor intensive than his prints. Once he’s created his two-dimensional map, he separates the colors (which represent different elevation levels) into layers in Adobe Illustrator before printing them out. From there, Warren cuts the paper or cardboard and carefully layers its pieces one on top of another before binding them with glue.
Warren told RealClearLife he is currently working on a Yosemite sculpture, so keep your eyes peeled for that. In addition, he’s in the process of developing a clothing line that features his trippy topographic patterns. On his website, Warren sells his prints and sculptures, which are sometimes incorporated into tables, as well as other items that use his designs. Prices vary from $40 for a print to as much as $500 for one of his 3-D pieces.